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Alaska State Senator introduces election reform bill

Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 4:12 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - A new bill proposing to strengthen election security in the state of Alaska is garnering controversy for what opponents see as creating undue barriers to practicing citizenship.

Senate Bill 39, sponsored by Republican Senator Mike Shower, was introduced on Monday.

Among other items, it amends voter registration requirements, and establishes an election offense hotline where suspected offenses may be reported by the public.

The Associated Press reports Shower as saying the “proposal is intended to strengthen the security of the state’s election system in a nonpartisan way.”

In a press conference Wednesday, District A Senator Scott Kawasaki of Fairbanks called the bill an act of voter suppression, saying, “This is going to hurt seniors. This is going to hurt especially rural Alaska more than anything, when it comes down to being able to vote - and you know, right now, at a time where we had some record turnout, I think that’s great. That means folks want to vote. They want to get out there. They want to be participatory in this democracy, and to basically disenfranchise voters, I think is the wrong direction.”

The bill is scheduled to be heard by the State Affairs Committee on Thursday, January 28th. Its full text can be found on the state legislature’s website.

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